1978: 2 movies

posted 2015 June 26


In einem Jahr mit 13 Monden
Writing, direction, production,
art direction, and cinematography
by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Production Design by Franz Vacek
Music by Peer Raben
Editing by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Juliane Lorenz
Makeup by Jo Braun
Starring Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven,
and Elisabeth Trissenaar

   Slow and at times absurd, this beautiful and ground-breaking tale ushers us through the life of a married man who has fallen in love with someone other than his spouse. He has changed his sex for love but now is abandoned. In fact, he's been abandoned many times since then. That's what makes the story interesting: everything has happened already, and now the characters are only searching around for why, they try to recreate it, and they try to repair it. As down as this movie sounds, the gripping angles, the colors, art direction, and performances keep our eyes glued. Also, having a little knowledge of writer/director Fassbinder's personal tragedies gives this a sense of autobiographical importance and urgency.
   The title translates from Deutsch to "In a Year with 13 Moons".

Par desmit minutem vecaks
Written and directed by Herz Frank
Produced by Herz Frank and Pauls Pakalns
Cinematography by Juris Podnieks
Art Direction by Gunars Kondrats
Sound by Alfreds Visnevskis

   It's pretty amazing how interesting this movie is despite it's lack of story, one single shot, and no other subject other than a few toddlers watching a stage-show. There are no camera movements besides zooming in, zooming out, and panning. But what there is is nearly ten minutes of behavioral revelation. With nothing else to go on, we scan this child-audience for clues on what they are watching. When one of the children seems profoundly disturbed by the show, we might think about the morality of such a project. Is this wrong to subject a boy to something that can bring him to tears just for the sake of a movie? But as he moves so easily back to a calm and pleased state, we think this is not really cruelty but a matter of nature. People are simply emotional beings. Then the camera shifts to other children with less pronounced reactions and we wonder if there was something particular about the first boy, maybe we are not like him. The other children are cute as well, and we are grateful to the camera-operator for the way we are shown a variety of a children, but we are especially grateful when the camera pans back to the first boy, because somehow in such a short while we have already come to miss him, his dramatic shifts of mood, his impassioned features, the way his spirit spills out of his eyes, nose and mouth. 
   The music cleverly and amusingly dramatizes the shot, intriguing us by not moving parallel to the scene on the stage, but rather parallel to the reactions of the audience members. In the end, what we have learned is hard to put into a clever paragraph, it is more experiential, like staring into a mirror and playing with the limits of our own face and the way it relates to our mind. The title translates from the Latvian to "About ten minutes older".

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